Manica Diamonds lose grip

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Cranborne Bullets coach Nesbert Saruchera

BY HENRY MHARA 

CRANBORNE BULLETS . . . . . . . (1)1

MANICA DIAMONDS . . . . . . . . . . (0)1

MANICA Diamonds coach Johannes Nhumwa blamed complacency after his side was held by struggling Cranborne Bullets at Baobab Stadium yesterday to miss out on a chance to reclaim top position on the log standings.

Victory here could have seen them move back atop the table, but they produced a haphazard performance especially in the first half. They were even lucky to come out of the match with a point as their opponent missed a glorious chance at the death.

Tadiwa Chibunyu gave the winless Craneborne Bullets a 12th minute lead, which was cancelled out by Nyasha Chintuli on 65th minute, for his sixth goal of the season.

“We underrated these guys, especially the players. And the nature of the game is that if you underate an opponent which is also composed of 11 players you get punished, and that is what happened today. There is need for us to work very hard so that we win more games especially the away matches,” Nhumwa said.

Having dropped two points, Manica Diamonds are now on 14 points, two behind leaders Chicken Inn.

Pressure continue to mount on Nesbert Saruchera after his side once again failed to collect maximum points. The army side has three points from nine matches.

But the struggling coach sees light at the end of the tunnel.

“We should have done better but I am happy with the result considering that we are coming from three defeats in a row. We are crawling back and I’m hopeful that in our next encounter we will collect three points. I have too much faith in these youngsters so I will, keep on playing them. We are progressing well as shown with the way we are playing. We are playing the same way we were playing in the Chibuku Super Cup,” Saruchera said.

Cranborne could have won the match at the death but Everson Feremba missed a seater, as he failed to do justice to an exquisite cut back from Tinotenda Meke.

“It happens in football, he should have shot first time but he wanted to make sure. We can’t blame him. It is part of football.”

Cranborne had an ideal start to the match when Chibunyu was allowed to shoot from inside the box, with his shot taking a deflection to beat Manica Diamonds goalkeeper Ashley Reyners.

Manica Diamonds looked for an early response, but their play was disjointed and never looked threatening in the first half.

The Mutare side came from the breather a changed team as they launched one attack after the other and their forward play was rewarded when Chintuli popped up in the box to meet a pass from the right which he coolly buried.

From there on, they
looked for a winner and Pascal Manhanga fired over from a good position.

But as they poured forward, they were almost caught on a counter when Meke made some good work on the left and drew all defenders and the keeper before squaring the ball to an unmarked Feremba who needed just to place the ball into an empty net. But the striker took forever to make a decision and Liberty Chakoroma recovered to clear the danger.

Teams

Cranborne Bullets: E Nechiturike, K Mutandagari, M Mushangwe, X Janatana, M Doley, T Charakupa, K Chidonza (M Namakhoma, 67′), K Mureremba, B Muzondiwa (E Feremba, 52′), T Chibunyu, T Meke

Manica Diamonds:  A Reyners, B Chikwenya, L Chakoroma, E Mafirenyika, T Ndlovu, L Masibera, P Manhanga, T Mabvura (C Dhuwa,62′), L Katongomara (E Chingondi, 90′), N Chintuli, F Mugumwa (L Vundla, 62′)

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